Real Madrid settled for a point at home against Athletic Bilbao after Cristiano Ronaldo's late redirect of a shot from Luka Modric.
Athletic Bilbao earned a point at the Santiago Bernabeu for the first time since 2005, as Real Madrid blew the chance to close the gap on second place Atletico Madrid. Cristiano Ronaldo scored late to earn a lethargic Real Madrid a point against mid-table Athletic Bilbao.
Ronaldo's goal came off a redirect of a shot from Luka Modric, with the Portuguese striker getting a touch on it to rescue the point, though Atletico Madrid could extend the gap to six points with a win on Thursday.
After a quiet start, the game burst into life in the seventh minute when Real keeper Keylor Navas had to save a San Jose drive at his near post. Moments later Cristiano Ronaldo thought he had broken the deadlock for Madrid, only to see his header thunder off the crossbar.
Ronaldo then went close again when he shot wide, but the Berbabeu would turn silent in the 14th minute when Inaki Williams collected Cordoba's precise through pass to coolly chip the ball past Navas in the Madrid goal to give Athletic Bilbao the surprise lead.
Real nearly got the perfect response, but Ronaldo was denied again, this time by Bilbao goalkeeper Kepa at his near post.
Madrid thought they had equalized mid-way through the first half, only for Kepa to superbly deny Raphael Varane from close range.
Lucas Vazquez skillful run nearly got Los Blancos level, but Bilbao were defending resolutely.
Los Leones had a case for a penalty when Carvajal handled the ball but it was not given.
Marco Asensio almost leveled for Real on the stroke of halftime only for Kepa to once again keep the ball out.
Frustrations for Real were showing , Vazquez picked up a needless yellow card as Bilbao went into the break with a 1-0 lead.
The second half started just like the first with Madrid once again dominating possession and Bilbao trying to play on the counter attack.
Navas had to be alert to stop Williams racing through on goal and at the other end Modric tried his luck but shot wide as Madrid were looking short of ideas.
On the hour mark Real appealed for a penalty when Cristiano Ronaldo was bundled over by Martinez. Referee Juan Martinez however, turned the appeals away.
The game should have been wrapped up for Bilbao when De Marcos's cross caused havoc in the Madrid defense. Navas pushed the ball out to Cordoba who's shot was blocked by Carvajal and somehow Raul Garcia could only manage to hit the crossbar on the rebound.
Zinedine Zidane tried to turn Real's fortunes around by bringing on Isco and Gareth Bale on with 20 minutes to go.
However, Bilbao's defense was staying strong. Nunez superbly blocked another Ronaldo drive as the Champion League winners tried to push for the equalizer.
After Real Madrid constant pressure, Los Blancos would get themselves level three minutes from time, when Ronaldo flicked in a Modric snapshot from close range.
Bale had a late free kick chance to win it for Real but it went over the bar.
Real stay in third place, three points behind Atletico Madrid who have played a game less. Bilbao move up to 12th place.